privacy

30 posts
Facebook doesn’t seem to fully know how its data is used internally

Lorenzo Franceschi reporting for Motherboard on a leaked Facebook document: “We do not have an adequate level of control and explainability over how our systems use data, and thus we can’t confidently make controlled policy changes or external commitments such as ‘we will not use X data for Y purpose.’ And yet, this is exactly what regulators expect us to do, increasing our risk of mistakes and misrepresentation,” the document...

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Tracking the CIA to demo phone tracking

Sam Biddle and Jack Poulson for The Intercept reporting on Anomaly Six, a company that knows a lot about a lot of people through phone data: To fully impress upon its audience the immense power of this software, Anomaly Six did what few in the world can claim to do: spied on American spies. “I like making fun of our own people,” Clark began. Pulling up a Google Maps-like satellite...

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Tax services want your data

Taxes are due today in the U.S. (yay). Geoffrey A. Fowler for The Washington Post on the part when tax services like TurboTax and H&R Block ask for your data: What he discovered is a little-discussed evolution of the tax-prep software industry from mere processors of returns to profiteers of personal data. It’s the Facebook-ization of personal finance. America’s most-popular online tax-prep service, Intuit’s TurboTax, also asks you to grant...

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Unregulated location data industry

For The Markup, continuing their reports on data privacy, Alfred Ng and Jon Keegan discuss the non-regulation of the location data industry: Without government regulation, the current approach from Apple and Google is to play catch-up with data brokers for each new way that location data can be shared, experts said. For example, while app developers could potentially lie to Apple and Google without any way to audit the companies,...

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Crisis Text Line and data sharing

Crisis Text Line was sharing data with a for-profit business started by its founder. Given the sensitivity and nature of the data, this relationship understandably seemed questionable at best. Danah Boyd, who serves on the board for Crisis Text Line, provides a detailed view into what happened and why: The practice of non-profit governance requires collectively grappling with trade-off after trade-off. I have been a volunteer director of the board...

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Anonymized data is rarely anonymous

Justin Sherman for Wired points out the farce that is anonymized data: Data on hundreds of millions of Americans’ races, genders, ethnicities, religions, sexual orientations, political beliefs, internet searches, drug prescriptions, and GPS location histories (to name a few) are for sale on the open market, and there are far too many advertisers, insurance firms, predatory loan companies, US law enforcement agencies, scammers, and abusive domestic and foreign individuals (to...

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Virtual proctoring simulation

Many colleges use virtual proctoring software in an effort to reduce cheating on tests that students take virtually at home. But the software relies on facial recognition and assumptions about the proper testing environment. YR Media breaks down the flaws and even provides a simulation so that you can see what it’s like. Tags: bias, privacy, proctoring, YR Media

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Family safety app sells location data to third parties

Life360 is a service that lets families keep track of where members are based on phone location data. For The Markup, Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng report on how Life360 then sells that data to third parties for millions of dollars: Through interviews with two former employees of the company, along with two individuals who formerly worked at location data brokers Cuebiq and X-Mode, The Markup discovered that the app...

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Optimizing retail spaces

Patrick Sisson for The New York Times reports on the growing popularity of tracking customer movement in stores: Complicating efforts to address privacy concerns is a lack of regulatory clarity. Without an overarching federal privacy law or even a shared definition of personal data, retailers must sort through layers of state and municipal rules, such as California’s Consumer Privacy Act, said Gary Kibel, a partner at the law firm Davis+Gilbert...

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Your location for sale

Companies collect and aggregate location data from millions of people’s phones. Then that data gets sold in a multibillion-dollar market. Jon Keegan and Alfred Ng for The Markup report on who’s doing the collecting and where your data goes: Once a person’s location data has been collected from an app and it has entered the location data marketplace, it can be sold over and over again, from the data providers...

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